Thankfully, no. I don’t even know what that would look like…
When I began my OBXFS journey, I had no idea what a “CAB” was. Yeah, they said it’s a community advisory board but what does that even mean? After the first couple of meetings, I found that the people we meet with give us a real insider’s view on the local perspective, which was an enormous help with our Capstone project. Plus, it’s pretty cool just learning about the Outer Banks from a non-touristy point of view.
To really show what the meetings are all about, here’s a synopsis of the last powwow.
So we arrived and socialized for about half an hour, learning everyone’s names (aka re-learning because this is the fourth time meeting them and I suck at remembering people’s names yet they mercifully take pity on me and keep introducing themselves) and caught up on the local gossip. They also love hearing about what we’re doing and they all lead super interesting lives so it’s fun listening to what they’re involved in.
Then, all of us students presented what we’ve done with the capstone research since the last meeting, what we hope to get done, and answered any questions the CAB members may have. During this particular presentation, they helped us come up with a list of people we could contact and interview for the social science aspect of our project. The great thing about the meeting is seeing their perspective on things: what locals may be thinking, people we should talk to, and other avenues we may consider. Most of the people have lived a large portion of their life here so they know what’s up and have connections. Kinda like the mafia… the in-the-name-of-science mafia.
When all is said and done and we convinced them and ourselves we’re making some type of progress, we (insert trumpets and disco lights) ate a free dinner. So far, the food has been spec-tacular. Like, go back for seconds and sometimes thirds if you planned ahead and didn’t eat all day to save room kinda good. This week, it was BBQ, slaw, mac and cheese, and salad. And they always have vegetarian options, so everybody’s happy. Plus, don’t even get me started on dessert. If you’ve read my later post, you know it’s a soft spot for me and lets just say, I have not been disappointed.
After dinner, it’s up to the hosts to decide what’s next. This week’s meeting found us all gathered around Albert Gard hearing childhood stories of growing up on the Outer Banks, unsolved ghost ship tales, and how WWII affected the coast. Yes, he did insert dramatic pauses and yes, it was some grade-A story telling. I was sitting on the edge of my seat at some points. No shame in my game.
Afterwards, we got a week worth of leftovers and then busted our butts home to do homework. It’s the glorious life we live.
I’ll be the first to say I was skeptical as what to expect at these meetings, but I think those involved added some really great ideas to our project and they’ve helped us make connections that pretty much got our social science research work off the ground. Plus, they’re all just wonderfully nice, interesting people who really care about us and want to help in any way they can. They can also get you really involved in the community or connect you with any interests you may have. For instance, one of the members helped me find a gym to go to while I’m here (I’m a gymoholic so I was borderline singing her praises when she got me in).
So moral of the story: you’ll get free food (music to any college student’s ears), great conversation, and meet super cool people. CAB meetings are definitely highlights of the week. Trust me, you’ll enjoy them. Just make sure you talk to the people while you’re there and maybe work on the presentation a bit beforehand so you’re not completely winging it. Lindsay will know if you do…
XOXO Doing cool things and loving it OBXFS student